Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The Rochdale Nine

The weather forecast for today was rather grim, but despite that we decideed to move.  At Waters Meeting we turned right instead of left and cruised the short distance to Stretford Marine Services where we winded (turned) Waiouru and took on 182 litres of diesel. Only 50 litres into the engine tank in the stern with the rest going into the bow tank for the stove.  We didn’t fill the engine tank as I want to keep the stern as high as possible when we go over the Huddersfield.  We’ll also do a pump out immediately prior to entering the Huddersfield.

It was then a case of cruising into Manchester and commencing our ascent of the Rochdale flight of nine locks.  I managed to wangle the locking job today leaving our son to do the steering.

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Dukes Lock at the bottom

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The recent renovations to the Dukes Lock pub appear to have been completed.  It was my lucky day as one of the grey haired elderly locals assisted me with the locking duties.

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Canadian illegal immigrants squatting beside the canal.

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The predicted poor weather put in an appearance and it started to snow at the third lock.  However it wasn’t all bad news as we also met a Black Prince hire boat coming down the flight.  That meant all but one lock was now empty and in our favour.  The buildings around the flight are a mixture of urban regeneration and “grotty”.

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We reached Chorlton Street Lock adjacent to Canal Street.  This is definitely a “grotty” lock.  Our first trip up the flight was in 2005 and Jan was doing lock duty on that occasion.  A male leaned over the fence and looked down at Jan working the lock before exclaiming “Ooooh…. you’ve got a big one!”  Followed by “Push harder!”  Jan replied “Would you like to come down and give a demonstration?”

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Two CRT employees were working above the lock and called out a warning to avoid the “undesirables” at the next lock.  Piccadilly Lock is almost subterranean and people have been living ‘rough’ on the off-side beside the lock.  Today it was deserted, however there was a strong urinal smell.  The top gates were also a bugger to open.

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We turned right at Ducie Street Junction and moored just before Store Street Aqueduct.  Shortly thereafter a near new Braidbar boat arrived from the opposite direction taking the last vacant mooring.  It then started to snow once again.

2 comments :

Fraser Rowe said...

Just a curious questions from some novices who will be heading in a similar direction in about a month. Why would you want to reduce your fuel load as you head towards the Huddersfield Canal and tunnel ?

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Fraser

The Huddersfield is reputedly very shallow and low water levels can also be an issue. We have a large fuel tank in the stern and I can reduce our water draft by 2-3 inches by only carrying 25% of our maximum capacity.